Aug 26 - Street artists in Myanmar flex their spray painting fingers under a more open government. Julie Noce reports.
They work under the veil of darkness... tagging, stenciling, creating art and messages of political reform on the walls and shopfronts of Yangon in Myanmar. For an artist known as Aung, a winged TV represents his first foray into the medium. (SOUNDBITE) (Burmese) 33-YEAR OLD ARTIST, AUNG, SAYING: "Most people don't know much about this art and the owners of the places where we create graffiti art are very sensitive about this. So far, there hasn't been serious (punishment) like arresting artists and sending them to jail but some artists have had to sign papers saying they won't do this again." Under a decades-old dictatorship, images like this would be unheard of. Since the government opened up in 2011, more and more street artists are stepping forward to express their views. (SOUNDBITE) (Burmese) 27-YEAR OLD YSA MEMBER TWOTWENTY SAYING: "Regarding vandalism, we may be regarded as "destroyers," but we don't create art on schools, churches, religious buildings. We don't destroy these places. We "destroy" places we don't like. For example, the places that were taken by force and the original inhabitants had to move away." The artists say an unspoken street code of ethics keeps their work off of places like Myanmar's revered Buddhist sites and monasteries.